Bad weather hits Christmas shopping on the High Street

Bad weather and the lure of online shopping saw consumers shun UK High Streets on one of the busiest days before Christmas.

Retail experts Springboard estimate numbers were 9% lower on Saturday, compared with the same time last year.

Including shopping centres and retail parks, footfall was 7.3% lower.

It comes as retailers face a number of pressures, including rising business rate bills, the national minimum wage and Brexit hitting the pound.

On Friday and Saturday freezing temperatures, gales, snow and rain hit many parts of the UK, dampening any hope for a pre-Christmas retail bounce.

“If people are presented with really terrible weather, they then have the choice to shop online, and they can make other choices about what to do with their time,” said Diane Wehrle, Springboard marketing and insights director.

“That, unfortunately, offers them sometimes better alternatives than trailing around a town centre or a High Street in freezing cold or rainy weather.”

Retails will be hoping for a better performance on Sunday when better weather is predicted.

‘Severely down’

Ms Wehrle said footfall appeared to have picked up for the early part of last week – with a year-on-year increase of 6.1% in High Streets, shopping centres and retail parks.

But she pointed out that snow last year meant that the comparative figures were already low.

Ms Wehrle said Saturday’s figures were “severely down” on last year, on what she described as a “peak trading weekend”.

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